1. Do Research
Researching schools of interest before attending an education conference example MBA or IGN will allow you to come prepared with strong questions and have productive and mutually beneficial conversations with admissions directors.
Visit school websites and social media channels. Make a list of:
- General program information: location, program length, application requirements such as average GMAT, average work experience, required tests, and deadlines.
- Interesting courses and internships
- Financing opportunities
- Career opportunities
Having strong, insightful questions to ask school representatives will go a long way in your interactions at a recruiting event. Asking questions will demonstrate your resourcefulness, and will indicate to admissions representatives that you are serious about their program. It will also help you gather more information on programs in your consideration set, and ultimately allow you to make an informed decision on which school will be right for you.
Have questions ready on what inspires you about the programs:
- What is unique about the school
- Events and professional development opportunities specific to your career goals
- What interacting with faculty members is like
- The personality of the school and what students do outside of the classroom
- Items not readily apparent on a school’s website such as: student life, clubs, special events, alumni network…
Admissions directors may ask questions of you in response to your questions, to get a sense of your candidacy for their program. Having a solid ’30 second pitch’ on why you want to pursue an MBA is a good start. Even more importantly, you must have a concrete grasp on your goals, both during and post-MBA. B-school representatives want to know that you will be a strong contributor to their program inside and outside of the classroom. They also want to know whether you will be a competitive candidate for employment post-graduation.
Keep in mind that your interactions with admissions directors at recruiting events will be brief. Therefore, it is important to narrow down your goals. Defining your goals is not only important in conveying your candidacy, but also in determining your fit with a school:
Be able to tell admissions Directors:
- Why you want to pursue an MBA
- Your academic & professional goals
- The criteria you value in a business school experience – create a checklist
- What makes you unique & what you can contribute to a school
Get invited to 1:1 and small group meetings with business schools at the event. Invitations are sent within 2 weeks of the event. Select schools that you are interested in during registration.
When the day of the event arrives, make sure that you dress the part and act professionally. The dress code of an event should be business formal. Treat the event as you would a job interview – come prepared with detailed questions to ask admissions directors. Remember, first impressions are everything since you only will have a short amount of time to interact with representatives. Create a 30-second elevator pitch that highlights who you are as a person, and what you could contribute to an MBA program.
What to Bring:
- A prepared list of questions and research you have done on the business schools.
- Dress code: business professional
- Business cards and resume copies. Some schools may ask for your resume, some may prefer you to email them a copy after the event. Always ask in your conversations.
- Based on my profile, what are my chances of getting in?
- Anything that you can find online, such as admissions requirements. This will not leave a good impression and show you have not done research. Instead, KNOW these details and ask questions you were not able to answer from looking at the university websites.
Meeting with a school representative, admissions officer, or alumnus only marks the beginning of your relationship with them. After you introduce yourself, give your pitch, and ask your questions, you must ALWAYS thank them for their time and ask for their business card. Once you have their contact information, the rule of thumb is to send a “thank you” email within 24 hours. Your email should identify who you are, thank them again for their time, and tell them you forward to staying in touch. Your next step is to maintain a conversation with the representative up through the application process. You can do that in the following ways:
- Express your interest.
- Visit the campus.
- Speak with current students and alumni.